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GOPHERS AND TUMBLEWEED: TALES OF A SASKATCHEWAN BOYHOOD.

Lowes, Warren.

Toronto, Abraham Tanaka Associates, 1987. 156pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-9692375-1-0. Distributed by Ray Lowes, 33 Hardale Crescent, Hamilton, Ont. L8T 1X7. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by A.L. Florence

Volume 16 Number 1
1988 January


Twelve stories that read like fiction, these are actually true stories of boyhood from the memories of the Lowes family at Willows, Saskatchewan, during the 1920ís. In a typical small prairie town of work, gossip, and neighbourly co-operation alternating with conflict, four boys and a dog inhabit a subculture of their own. The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of W.O. Mitchell's salty tales and awakens similar "flashes of recognition." Each youngster develops his own personality as the stories progress. Mock heroic episodes, sleepless nights with a guilty conscience, and daring exploits with assistance only from scattered memories of Boy's Own Annual experiments highlight their exploration of an everyday world in search of adventure and knowledge.

Warren Lowes became a freelance writer and journalist after riding freight trains, soldiering in Europe and wandering about the Middle East and Europe before returning to live in Canada. His later years, however, are not reflected in this current volume except by lending perspective to his boyhood years. It is a very readable collection, flavoured with chuckles over the youngsters' interpretation of the adult world's concerns with sin and church attendance, social properties and a harsh economic scene.

Recommended for secondary students needing to experience western frontier life with literature or social studies.


A.L. Florence, Winnipeg, Man.
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